The Kano state government says it would proceed with plans to take a Chinese loan of €684.1 million, which is equivalent to N339 billion to execute a light rail project, despite protest from the opposition Kwankwasiyya movement.
DAILY FOCUS reports that on Monday, the Kwankwassiya movement, loyal to former governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, announced it has filed a lawsuit to stop Governor Abdullahi Ganduje from accessing the massive loan.
In a long statement, Aminu Abdussalam, one of the leaders of the political group and a former deputy governorship candidate, accused Mr Ganduje of trying to enslave the state by borrowing such a massive amount.
Mr Abdussalam, said the loan constitutes over 15 years internally generated revenue of the state.
“On our instructions, our lawyers have already instituted a case in court challenging both the legitimacy and the procedural violations associated with the proposed loan. Thank you very much and God bless our dear state and our country,” he said.
However, in a reposte, the state government said no amount of criticism would deter it from going on with the project.
According to a statement by Muhammad Garba, the state’s commissioner for information, the light rail project was “conceived after due consultations with major stakeholders in the state”.
Mr Garba said “the light rail project, apart from other benefits, is designed to expand commercial activities, and ease transportation of agricultural goods and services across the state for the benefit of the good people of our dear state.”
The commissioner explained that the rail project initially covered a distance of 75.02 kilometers but has been reduced due to “its capital intensive nature” and “considering the economic realities occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“Since the foreign loan has already been approved by the China Export-Import Bank, government would go ahead with the projects and the state lawmakers have recommended the contractor Messrs CR18G-CRCEGJV to commence with lot I which starts from Dawanau Graiins Market-Bata, being Phase I of the project and to be completed within 20 months,” Mr Garba said.
He added that “all the due processes are being followed which include getting approval from the state House of Assembly and clearance from the relevant federal agencies and the National Assembly.”
Mr Garba accused the Kwankwasiyya movement of not appreciating any thing done by the Ganduje administration “no matter how well thought out”.
“The Kwankwassiyya Movement, which has been overawed by the uncommon achievements of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje administration in all facets of development, and particularly, the initiation and execution of mega projects, is now afraid of its shadows.
“They have embarked on a smear campaign in a desperate move to bring the state government into disrepute.
“However, no amount of blackmail will stand as stumbling block for the APC government to initiate people oriented policies and programmes in the overall interest of the state,” he said.